Why I Dislike Open Letters

I was never one to go around saying “this particular type of writing is wrong!”, nor will I be saying that here, but whenever a blog post, or article of any kind, starts with “An Open Letter to…” it immediately makes me cringe and very often turn around immediately.

Yes, I’ve done that once before, but nothing about that post was serious. That’s why the title read “open letter”. Quotation marks are your friends in this blog, guys. They’re always your first hint that I’m in fact mocking something and not condoning it. 😉

I originally thought about writing this post in open letter form, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Because writing a public letter to some unnamed or unreachable person to criticize something they do that you consider ‘wrong’ sounds like the most unbelievably condescending thing I can really think of. Especially if you’re writing an open letter to a celebrity. You know they’re not going to read that. You do. Don’t come to me with “they might find it and read it” because you don’t believe that. It is more than condescending, it’s hypocritical, to try and disguise the fact that you’re writing about someone specifically by addressing your very public criticism to them as if it was the same as setting them aside and saying it to their face. It isn’t. You’re not writing to them and you’re not fooling anyone.

Like when I wrote about Justin Bieber. I saw no need in going:

Dear Justin,

Please stop what you’re doing.

All of it.

Every sound out of your mouth makes me want to punch a baby hoping its cries will drown out your horrible noises.

Please think of the children.

Sincerely,

Blackbird

Open Letter authors: this is how I see you.

It may seem more polite, but it isn’t. It really, really, isn’t. Plus; who the fuck cares? Who would I be doing this for? To make myself feel better about saying mean things about a complete stranger’s artistic endeavors? Well, I don’t give a shit. I don’t want to pretend that I do. Justin Bieber has been doing his awfulness long enough to be used to this by now, my harsh words should he ‘find it and read it’ are not going to make him cry unmanly tears of heartbreak. And if they do I sincerely hope someone films it on their phone and sends it to me.

You get the gist of what bothers me by now, right? Open Letters, whether they are good or bad, is a way of saying “this is okay, because it’s directed at someone and not behind their back”, but that is just as honest as rolling a turd around in sugar, calling it candy, and shoving it down people’s throats. Which is unpleasant enough even with actual candy to be honest. Even if you have something nice to say, there is absolutely no reason you can’t just openly write about it without pretending it’s private correspondence. It doesn’t make the compliment prettier; it makes it more pretentious. Reading something like “Bob, from the office, gave me a chocolate today, that was totally awesome!” is far more relatable to me than reading “Dear Bob…. blah blah blah blah…” sorry I’m not even paying attention anymore.

While my annoyance doesn’t exclude open letters to family or other loved ones I won’t be addressing that. How people handle their personal affairs (publicly on the internet) is totally their business (even though it’s totally public on the internet).

I know that there must be people out there who disagree with this,and well; they’re more than welcome to, but for what it’s worth; these were my thoughts about it.

B.B

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4 thoughts on “Why I Dislike Open Letters

  1. I’m with you. How often are “open letters” about anything nice? Aren’t they usually complaints? Opinion pieces dressed up as faux letters? The other thing is they aren’t *really* to the person, corporation, or office addressed. If they were they could go in an envelope with a stamp. They’re for our dubious benefit. I’d feel stupid if I wrote one. On the OTHER hand, I can see writing a letter and then re-printing it, saying here’s a copy of the letter I sent to Nike. Or Vladimir Putin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that’s very true. There’s a considerable difference in writing and sending a letter to someone and then sharing it publicly afterwards. At least you honestly tried to directly state your opinions to the person ‘involved’.

      Liked by 1 person

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